The Kingdom of Sweden will be the Guest of Honour of this year’s Abu Dhabi International Book Fair (ADIBF), which will run at Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Centre (ADNEC) from April 30-May 5. The fair – the 24th in the annual series – is organised by Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi).
At a press conference at Manarat Al Saadiyat exhibition centre, TCA Abu Dhabi and the Embassy of Sweden in the UAE announced the establishment of a special pavilion at the book fair which will host lectures and cultural evenings featuring Sweden’s most notable authors and intellectuals. The programme will include presentations on Sweden’s cultural landscape and will shed light on the Kingdom’s most important publications.
ADIBF is one of the region’s fastest growing book fairs, and enjoys wide participation from leading Arab and international publishing houses. This year’s fair is 10% bigger in exhibition space than 2013 with the number of exhibitors reaching 1,050 compared to 1,025 last year.
The press conference was attended by HE Jasem Al Darmaki Deputy Director General of TCA Abu Dhabi, Jumaa Al Qubaisi, Executive Director of TCA Abu Dhabi’s The National Library sector and HE Max Bjuhr, Ambassador of Sweden to the UAE, Bahrain and Qatar. Sweden is offered a special 96 square metre pavilion at the fair with the embassy taking responsibility for preparing a cultural programme which hosts Sweden’s most distinguished authors and intellectuals.
“Through its qualitative annual cultural programme, ADIBF has consolidated its presence, both regionally and internationally, by highlighting the cultural landscape of many countries. Sweden – this year’s Guest of Honour has always been one of the most culturally active countries, and is known for establishing cultural bridges with other nations, most memorably through its prize funds which recognise human endeavour, promote innovation, and celebrate authors, intellectuals, and scientists - the Nobel Prize is an illustrious example. Sweden is also a prominent contributor to preserving human heritage and has become a pivotal model for intellectual communication through its innovative initiatives,” said HE Al Darmaki.
Meanwhile, HE Max Bjuhr hailed ADIBF as one of the most important meeting places for book-lovers and literary professionals in the region.
“As Guest of Honour this year, Sweden will showcase a wide variety of culture – from different genres of literature to illustrations, food and music. Visitors will be able to smell, taste, hear, feel and see different dimensions of Sweden", said Ambassador Bjuhr.
"We have invited around 20 renowned authors, poets and illustrators from different genres like fiction, drama, crime, biographies, non-fiction, children’s books and poetry. These include children’s author Martin Widmark, whose books have been the most borrowed from Swedish libraries for the past three years. Author and Chef Johanna Westman will cook and let the audience taste food from her cookbooks for parents and children. Professor Emeritus in Literature, Poet and Member of the Swedish Academy Mr. Kjell Espmark will speak about his work and also give a background to how the Nobel Prize in literature is decided. Renowned Illustrator Stina Wirsén will hold workshops for young children aimed at stimulating their inherent drive for creativity and self-expression. Visitors will also get to meet two poets - Marie Silkeberg and Ghayat AlMadhoun - who together have written a book called ‘To Damaskus’ coming out in Swedish this month – and on which they have each worked in their mother tongues – Arabic and Swedish - and compiled the result together. Personally I look forward very much to hearing them talk about their method of work.”